The SFA Lumberjacks men's basketball team has advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
SFA beat Sam Houston State, 69-47, in the final of the SLC Tournament.
SFA will find out their seeding and who they will open tournament play against on Sunday.
The win was also the 28th straight for the Lumberjacks (31-2), the
nation’s second-longest streak in the nation. Only undefeated Wichita State has a longer run.
couldn’t let this opportunity fade away from us,” said all-tournament
selection Desmond Haymon, one of six players on the SFA roster which
lost to Northwestern in last year’s tournament finale. “The focus the
team had stayed there the whole night.”
went undefeated in 18 Southland Conference games en route to
earning the school’s second tournament championship and now awaits its
destination when the NCAA tournament bracket is formally announced
Sunday at 5 p.m., CT, on CBS.
coach Brad Underwood felt overjoyed about being able
to not only represent SFA, but also the conference, as his first season
at the helm still has him and the school on the biggest stage in college
us to be on the national stage and represent who we are and
what we’re about....that means the world,” he said. “I’ve said it all
along: we play for the name on our front, not on the back, and we take
great, great pride in being able to play for Stephen F. Austin State
“This is a good league. It’s got great teams. It’s got great players,”
most valuable player Thomas Walkup scored 19 points and
added five rebounds and four assists for the Lumberjacks, who led just
35-32 with 18:12 remaining before going on their decisive run, which put
them up 56-37 with 7:08 left after a basket from Conner Brooks.
Sam Houston (23-10) hit just 2 of 8 shots and committed six turnovers
during the pivotal run and the Bearkats were held to only 38.6 percent shooting on the night.
got to give them credit,” Bearkats coach Jason Hooten said.
“They defended us pretty well. I thought early in the game, we got some
pretty good shots that didn’t go in. That happens … when you don’t make
shots, you get a little frustrated, but we probably carried that over on
the defensive end.”
Bearkats were up 22-17 following Terrance Motley’s jumper at
the 6:45 mark of the first half, but the Lumberjacks responded with a
14-2 run that was highlighted by a pair of treys from Deshaunt Walker,
the latter which gave SFA a 31-24 lead with 3:17 before intermission.
Sam Houston would get within 31-28, but Walkup’s
layup with 31 seconds remaining allowed the Lumberjacks to take a 33-28
cushion into the locker room.
the loss, the Bearkats stand a very good chance to play
in either the National Invitational Tournament or the College Basketball
Invitational. A selection to either would give Sam Houston its third
postseason trip in school annuals.
“We deserve it,” said Hooten. “We’ve won 23 games, played a great
schedule and I think we’ll get that opportunity.”
Joining Walkup and Haymon on the all-tournament team were Sam Houston
State’s Jabari Peters and Kaheem Ransom along with Northwestern State’s Jalan West.